Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Space Between...Make this and Buy that

I work in a male dominated environment. And that's's a power plant for Pete's sake. But it's interesting for me because prior to this job I worked in an environment where a majority of the employees were female.

At any workplace, the lunch room serves as the melting pot (yep, pun intended). At my workplace, I am usually the only woman in the lunchroom with anywhere from 8-10 men.
I've worked here about 5 months. In that time, they've rarely "pulled punches". They would beg my pardon at first, but I told them there was no need. If they broached a subject that could offend me, I'd simply leave the lunchroom. I can honestly say that in 5 months I haven't been so horribly offended that I've left. AND...I have learned so much in the last 5 months about men.

One of the guys and his wife are having their first baby in a few months. This naturally leads to interesting lunchroom discussion. Men know a lot about pregnancy, labor, delivery and newborns. It's been so entertaining to learn all about the process from a man's perspective. I do say this mostly with my tongue in my cheek, but I will say that a few of their insights have been enlightened. I say all that, to tell this story which I think is just to funny.

These are skilled tradesmen. Engineers, technicians, mechanics, electricians. Most of them think they can build a better mousetrap, some of them actually have. One of these skilled, pretty smart decided that he could build his wife a breast pump, rather than pay for one. That's right ladies, a home made breast pump. He has described his "machine shop" at home before. It's in his basement. I can picture him now, emerging from the basement with a small motor that used to be in a push mower attached to a rubber hose with a funnel on the end. Now, I don't actually know that this is what it looked like, but I do know that he said his wife's eyes "rolled back in her head". LOL. I mean really. There are some things you can apply the "make that" theory to...but Guys, please....not breast pumps!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Space Bewteen...Day 1 and Day 31

Since one of my resolutions was to "Do more 'me' things" and blogging was one that I named, I've decided to post weekly. My topics will range from parenting issues, work time and family life - but mostly be centered around my experience as a mother working outside of the home. That Space Between where parents can feel trapped.

But for today, an update on my progress toward resolution #1 (finish last year's resolution: loose 25 lbs by March 2012). I feel like posting my progress will help me to reach my goal by making me more accountable. But I do not want to make it a central theme of the blog.

So, at New Years I was at the 20 lbs mark (5lbs to goal). I decided to make my weigh in days Monday nights. What better way to start the week than by recounting last weeks failures right? (I'm kidding.) Once a week is perfectly adequate, weighing yourself everyday only serves to make you neurotic.

Week 1 (1/9) - lost 2 lbs
Week 2 (1/16) - no change
Week 3 (1/23) - gained 3 lbs
Week 4 (1/30) - lost 3 lbs

So with 5 weigh ins left, I'm 3 lbs from from my goal. I did moderate exercise and followed my "week day eating plan". So I can see that if I amped up the exercise I could probably loose a little more. But in general I feel good about the last month. I started on this journey by walking on my lunch hour. I walked 30 minutes a day 4 or 5 days a week. It's amazing how much that helped. When the weather gets nicer I hope to resume walking. I also use Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I try to do it 3 days a week...honestly last month I only did it twice a week. So that's something I'll be working on.

My "week day eating plan" is not a diet. Mon-Fri I eat like this: 200 cal. breakfast, 200 cal. lunch and 2 100 cal. snacks. We try to eat balanced, reasonably healthy meals at dinner. I don't eat dessert very often. One of my biggest rules is that I try not to eat after the kids go to bed. Lunch and late night eating were my biggest problems in the past. Now, this plan works for me becuase - I only bring that much food to work and so I can't snack. On weekends, it is hard. But I try to just eat small portions throughout the day to spread the calories and make me feel full. Not scientific really - but it has been working for me.

Thanks for "listening" and I promise that I'll try to be more interesting next week!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Space Between...resolution and resolute

res·o·lu·tion / [rez-uh-loo-shuhn] /noun 1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution. (seems easy, right?)

res·o·lute / [rez-uh-loot] / adjective 1. firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion. 2. characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc. (not so easy)

Right, so here it is. My annual post (see 2009 and 2010) about the new year and resolutions and all that. Both of those posts were about how, whole heartedly, I intended not to make "New Year's Resolutions". For the most part, I succeeded. I made no promises to myself or to others under the guise of the new year. Changes happened and life entered a new season and we are pretty blessed and grateful to have landed where we are now.

So - 2012 resolutions? Yes. This year I decided to make a couple. Actually I made one last year too, which is where some of this year's came from, so the story bares sharing. On New Year's Eve 2010, Joel and I were invited to a wedding. Finding something I was comfortable wearing was hard. I asked for his help. {Confession: My husband is more stylish than I am.} {Confession 2: I had a hard time trusting his choices.} This led to a discussion, in which I admitted to him that I was unhappy with my body.
*Let me stop for a minute to make one thing clear, I do not for one second think that a woman should feel pressured to look a certain way. Women (and men) come in all shapes and sizes. As do many other beautiful, trees, get the idea. But you never see a peony killing itself to look more like a daffodil. Right? Of course, right! (a little Yenta, the matchmaker for you)*
OK - so- wedding, nothing to wear that I felt good in, big talk...and so...I decided to loose weight. I didn't make it an out loud New Year's resolution, but it was, in fact New Year's Eve so... Anyway, I got serious in early March (resolution - easy, resolute - not so much) and by the end of August, I had lost 22 pounds. {Confession 3: I just did a little cheer for myself. If you can't be proud of yourself, what's the point right?} Then, Irene happened. I won't go into a lot of detail, but Irene was the first of many excuses and the year ended with me 5 pounds shy of my 25 pound goal. Grrr. How I managed to only gain back 2 pounds is a miracle to me, although I lost muscle mass, no doubt.

So there it is. And here we are, 2012. New year. New goals. Oh and did I make just one resolution? Heck no! I went all in. 5! Here they are:

  1. Finish my 2011 resolution and lose a total of 25 pounds from March 2011 to March 2012. (see next post on how that's working out for me so far)

  2. Lose a few more by June and then maintain.

  3. Do a few "me" things. (I'm gonna sing and blog to start.)

  4. Get better at the "homey" stuff. (And I suppose by better I really just mean - be a little more joyful about housework....that and cook more...and better.)

  5. Pay off one credit card and save enough to go on vacation in the fall.

Resolutions - done. Resolute? Characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc. OK. Go.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

T-minus 10 we got here

With the trip now only 10 days away I realize that my promised posts on planning this trip have yet to occur. This I intent to remedy now...*trumpets* Planning our Disney Vacation! *fanfare*

We've been talking about this trip for over a year. We priced out various packages directly from Disney and compared them to deals through travel web sites and AAA, etc.

The clincher for us is that we knew we weren't going to fly. This helped us to elimate a lot of the travel deal clutter, since most online travel sites were offering packages including flights.

One nice thing about Disney now is that there are soooo many resorts. I know at first that fact seems overwhelming, but actually it pretty much insures that you are going to find the type of hotel you want, at the price you need. There are also a lot of resources on how to get good deals and money saving tips. We used Fodor's, this book by Beth Haworth, and a little common sense.

We choose the value resorts, specifically the All-Star Movies resort. The price was right and we knew the kids would really love the decor. Free parking, the pool looks A-maz-ing, dining options in the hotel...I think we made the right choice.

Next we priced out park tickets. This was a tougher process than picking a hotel, for us. We thought about the following: How many of the parks would be appropriate for our 6 and 4 year olds? Is it realistic to expect to "park hop" (visit more than one park per day)? Will it take more than one day to see everything in a given park? We originally decided on a 4 day pass, no hopping, no water parks (both are additional costs).

Next we checked out the Disney Dining plans - new since my childhood visits. This is a no brainer, if you are staying on property. We chose the plan that allows 2 meals and 2 snacks per person, per day.

We were close to booking, when Joel got an email with Disney's current promotion - a Disney Gift card upon arrival. We decided to go up to a 5 day pass, and that package earned us a $300 Disney Gift card. This is huge! We can use it for meals or merchandise! That sealed the deal and we booked in January.

I started saving for this trip last summer, and now it's almost here. I really can. not. wait!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Last night's bedtime prayer

Lord, Thank you. Thank you for this day. The sunshine and the blue sky, the smiling faces we've seen today...all have been such a blessing.
Forgive the un-done laundry, the dusty mantle, the un-vacuumed carpet. I neglected them today, Lord.
But Thank you, oh Thank You for sidewalk chalk and bubbles. For tricycles and scooters. For plastic jugs to hold water which is poured and studied over and over. For soft grass and the "what color" game. For smiles and giggles made even brighter by the glorious sun.
Thank you, for this day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I've got a little list

"Sarah Bramer, you've just booked your trip to Disney World! What are you going to do next?"

HAHA, seriously? I mean, come on...this is me - absolutely my mother's daughter, my sister's sister, a Barber to the "nth degree".... I'M MAKING MY TO-DO LIST!!

I think perhaps literally the day we booked this trip, I started this list. However, that was January...the trip was months away and the list was not very thorough and not very daunting.
Now the trip is T minus 5 weeks and counting and some items on the list really need attention.

Ok, so here we go. The clever reader will observe that I have broken the "list at large" into smaller categorized lists. (insert nerd music here)

To-Do for the car ride:
  • make curtains - This is first on my car ride list because, well, I want to make curtains. When the girls and I were growing up, Nana and Bobo lived in Florida most of the year. I can clearly remember car trips in the mini-van to see them. My mother made curtains for all the back windows of the van. They were used to block out the lights from cars at night, to provide privacy for changing into pjs, and to give shade when the glaring sun was at it's peak. They were simple, grey, bulk fabric rectangles with velcro tabs but I remember when she "unveiled" them to us before one trip - we were so excited. (sure, go ahead, more nerd music) I doubt Luke and Megan will care much about the curtains, but I will.
  • pack activity boxes - Another stroke of Ma P genius came in the form of activity boxes. See back in the day, the bench seats in a mini-van were high enough to slide things under. Not so, in my trusty Saturn VUE. Mom had purchased containers from a Tupperware Party (again, back in the day) and filled them with things to occupy little hands and minds. One held paper, activity books, colored pencils, crayons and stickers. Another held small travel versions of games we liked, decks of cards and books. These boxes, like the curtains, stick out in my mind as highlights to the car trip. I'm going to have to get a little creative with my "boxes", since space in the VUE is already at a premium, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.
  • map out a route - This task I may give to Joel. Then it can be his fault...ahahah! Just kidding! HAHA...aaaahhhaaa...heh....ha...hrmmmm.
  • plan and pack snacks - Helllloooo...we're Bramers. We snack.
  • pack DVD player and choose most non-annoying movies possible
  • bring our CD library of Adventures in Odyssey
  • have the car serviced and cleaned
  • find the roof rack luggage holder

To-do for the kids:

  • go through summer clothes
  • select clothing to pack
  • get/find hats that fit
  • get haircuts!
  • where are those new sneakers I ordered?
  • notify day care and Elementary school of vacation dates
  • get work that Luke will be missing
  • get money out of savings accts that Grandma has given them especially for this trip

To-do for when we arrive:

  • make sure camera has batteries, extra batteries and back up batteries
  • get park maps
  • remember to bring confirmation number
  • get sunblock, bug spray, hand sanitizer, wet wipes
  • clean out over-the-door shoe organizer and pack for hotel bathroom - This is a tip that Joel read in a Disney planning book. It makes sense. Upper compartments can hold toiletries - keeping them off the counter - and lower compartments can hold shoes and socks - keeping them off the floor. WIN WIN.

To-do for me:

  • color hair - Haha, you're getting the nitty gritty list here gang!
  • get haircut!
  • where are those new sneakers I ordered?
  • go to bank - duh.
  • go through summer clothes - *shudder*
  • get a massage - Joel's I am seriously considering.
  • pack laptop for uploading photos and blogging
  • GET A NEW PHONE - Long story, but this has to get done, like soon.
  • unplug everything from upstairs and living room before we leave
  • get someone to feed Gracie Cat - I think my mom will do this actually
  • reflect on the following: There will be lines. There will be crowds. The kids will get hyper. The kids will get tired. Things will be expensive. It might be uncomfortably hot. It might rain. The drive will be LONG. (doing this will help me because I tend to have very high expectations - perhaps that will be it's own blog entry before we leave)

Ahh, I feel better already. Obviously some of these things are stil weeks off, but it helps my logical, organized, Libra brain to make a list. Or several.

(Joel's name is a link to his blog, where he will be pre trip blogging too.)